Sunday, January 25, 2009

More trouble for Green Dragon

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Trouble struck for a third time on an eventful fourth leg for Green Dragon when the Chinese-Irish boat this afternoon reported a recurrence of bow section damage.

Ian Walker and his men were the first to sustain damage on this 2,500-upwind slog from Singapore to Qingdao when they broke their forestay three days ago.

Yesterday, they were among the casualties as a fierce storm struck the fleet in the Luzon Strait near the coast of the Philipines on day seven. They were forced to seek shelter along with PUMA, Delta Lloyd and Telefonica Black, with damage to the bow section.

Tom Braidwood leads the crew in repairing damage sustained in 50 knot winds. Philippines, 25 January 2009. Photo copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Having suspended racing, taken the requisite 12-hour penalty and spent most of their time making repairs at anchor in Salomague Bay, they resumed racing at 08:45 GMT this morning.

Six hours into their restart, the crew reported that the repairs they had made to the forward ring frame – a structural component – were not holding as expected and they have been forced to throttle back. They will proceed with caution in crossing the Luzon Strait while weighing up their options.

An update from the boat at 17:00 GMT suggested that they may have to wait for up to 20 hours for conditions to ease. The crew will assess the situation and make a decision on whether they need to pull in again to affect further repairs.

Earlier Walker had chronicled their repair plans and their desire to press on to Qingdao. His words prior to their resumption proved prophetic. “We are expecting a torturous trip where we will have to balance preserving the boat with our makeshift repairs against getting to Qingdao as quickly as possible,” he said.

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